Although Network Rail have announced they are putting the plans for the Parsons Tunnel to Teignmouth programme on hold until 2021, we can't make any assumptions that this means there will be any major changes to the original plans shown in February this year. Although Network Rail have said they will be taking the responses from the public consultation into account, and making changes to the design, unless they completely scrap the current design and present one which focuses on maintaining the cliffs and existing sea wall, rather than moving everything out to sea, the campaign is far from over.
The image above, annotated by us, is page 25 in a Network Rail document which will be made available on this website soon.
The image shows that it will not just be Holcombe beach and part of Teignmouth beach that will be closed to the public for the duration of the construction, which is estimated to be 8 - 10 years. Although the map is not clearly labelled with road names, an educated guess shows that a large swathe of Mules Park and East Cliff park, as well as a large section of the sea will be included in the exclusion zone. How many people use these parks on a daily basis? Are they aware that it is not just the beach that will be affected by the construction period? What about boat users or sea swimmers? Are they aware that there will be restrictions on where they can go or that the water quality will likely be compromised for 8 - 10 years?!
During this pandemic I have been astounded at how many people have taken up sea swimming. It has been a much needed activity for reduce stress and exercise in a safe environment. If the current proposals, even slightly changed ones, go ahead, will it be safe to swim in the sea off Teignmouth?
These are all questions that need to be considered and answered. Please continue to spread the word about the campaign, invite friends and family to subscribe to the website and keep writing to your MP and local counsellors.